Investing in Mountaintop

The games industry has been a story of expansion: For nearly 50 years, games have grown from smaller to larger audiences. From niche beginnings in the arcades in the 1970s, to expansion into the home through consoles and PCs in the 80s-90s, to becoming the largest category on mobile devices over the last decade. Last year, the games industry reached $180B in revenue (nearly twice the size of the global film industry!)

The same trend happened at a micro level within games, as relatively niche and core genres were iterated upon, improved, and made more accessible to larger audiences over time. Industry heavyweight League of Legends was developed as a more accessible version of DotA, a mod that required players to buy Warcraft 3 and install custom software. Blizzard developed Hearthstone as a faster, more approachable alternative to tabletop collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering.

Similarly, Mountaintop is a new game studio building core competitive experiences for a wider audience. For their first project, Mountaintop is focusing on the player vs player (PvP) shooter genre. The founding team—Nate Mitchell, Matt Hansen, Mark Terrano, and Richard Lyons—are all devoted students of the genre. Through countless hours of gameplay, they saw an opportunity to iterate and improve upon some of their most beloved games.

As a firm, we’ve known Nate for nearly eight years. The firm invested in his prior start-up, Oculus, where he was cofounder and VP Product from inception through the Facebook acquisition and beyond. More recently, I’ve spent a great deal of time learning about Mountaintop and brainstorming with Nate. He’s a proven leader and company builder, and a core gamer himself with ambitious ideas around culture, development processes, and product that could challenge industry conventions for the better. Over the last year, Nate and his cofounders have quietly assembled an all-star team of design, engineering, and art talent from some of the top studios in the industry (and they’re hiring!).

I’m thrilled to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is leading Mountaintop’s Series A and that I’m joining the board. We’re excited to partner with Nate and the entire Mountaintop team as they redefine competitive games for a modern audience, and push the boundaries of how we think about and make games.

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